Christmas, a happy time : a tale, calculated for the amusement and in[s]truction of young persons
Original buff printed wrappers dates 1833; lower wrapper: publisher's advertisements. In case
Ex libris May & George Shiers
October 31, 2012
Moralistic but curiously readable
Pages 43 and 48 are reversed in the book. This is a children’s Christmas story without illustrations, except the frontispiece and one of the children in the nursery. It is very old-fashioned (1832) with stilted, unnatural conversation and no developed characters at all. Almost every page seems moralistic and verifies the subtitle as “calculated for the amusement and instruction of young persons. Miss Mant fills the pages with situations for children to be respectful and obedient.
The family is one of affluence where there is, in their social station, the sense of obligation to the poor. One of the daughters picks up a dress intended for one of the village poor— " 'It would be very coarse for you to wear, Elizabeth," replied Mrs. Mortimer, "because you are born in a state of affluence, and therefore it is becoming that you should be drest according to the fortune of your pa-pa. But to give fine garments to the poor would be no kindness to them, nor a fit manner of shewing our benevolence towards them.' "
On the positive side there are some views (not developed in detail) of visits to the estate’s ice-house, a neighboring farm, the parsonage, the gathering of items to give to the poor at Christmas, a dog going through the ice (and glossed over as something that happens), a visit to the chicken-yard and some more lessons of life, and the sliding and skating on the ice-coated pond.